Prison Update

I've been remiss, yet again, in posting to our blog but I shall make a gallant effort to post regularly.  I post to our group discussion list regular updates of our prison program based on our visits there.  So, here is the first visit after our May 21st newbies arrived.  I promise to post regularly!

Well, due to circumstances beyond our control, Kathy and I couldn’t get to the prison to check in with our newest group, until yesterday.  We arrived around 10:15 a.m., promptly checking in at security.

Anyway, we checked in, making our way to the building where our men are housed.  The men were in the classroom with their pups awaiting our arrival.  It’s really nice when everything falls into place and they are there and ready!! 

We immediately began reviewing commands with the primary handlers and their Greyhounds.  After 3
½ weeks, it’s amazing to me what these men have taught our pups.  Some are more advanced in their commands than others but by the time of graduation (July 30th), they will all be proficient in their basic commands plus they will all have a few extras under their belt.  Special extras like show me love, kiss, sloppy kiss (yes, there is a difference and it’s hysterical), speak, bow, crawl, limp, scratch, and one has even learned how to pick up his toys and put them in the toy basket. 

It’s something else to watch the connection these inmates have with these dogs and vice verse.  I remember watching Tito with his inmate.  He never took his eyes off her while going through his commands and he is the same with me
completely focused.  The eye contact is everything when connecting and training successfully with your Greyhound.  And our inmates know that and are sure to incorporate this into their training.

But one inmate has gone above and beyond what the others are doing with their dogs.  He has developed his own training treats while in prison.  Yes, he has.  He has taken the round Lose a Finger treats which he tops with peanut butter.  He then adds another layer of jerky from another treat, smearing the peanut butter around the whole thing. Then, he puts these morsels into a jar which has crumbs from the crunchy treats, coating the entire concoction with crumbs.  What does he call these treats?  Why, “chain gang treats”, of course!  Yes, and his dog loves them as you can imagine.  His dog also has the most extensive list of extras.  Must have something to do with those special, treats.  I’d say he is doing something right!

Stay tuned . . .

We Did It!!

Well, we did it- we finally did it!

Since our inception in January of 2009, we have off and on contacted our home state, Georgia, in an attempt to bring our prison foster and training program to a Georgia prison.  We have come up short every time.  But near the end of August I decided to attack the issue from another angle and that was to contact the corporate office of a company who privately runs at least five Georgia prisons. Bingo!  I had a return email within minutes and a call scheduled the next day with the Senior Director of Re-entry Programs.  It was a matter of days before I was speaking with administration at Jenkins County Correctional Center.

The months since then have been busy preparing our program for Jenkins, working with Administration as we fine tuned our contract and gaining that approval from their Corporate office, and getting the inmates prepared to receive our first group of Greyhounds.  Our first meetings with the inmates began in November with selection meetings, testing for the inmates, orientation, etc.

At last we were ready and they were ready!  Our first six Greyhounds entered the prison on Thursday, December 18th.  The timing was specifically meant to get the dogs in before the holidays so the inmates would have time to get to know their Greyhound before training begins January 3rd plus it will no doubt help with morale!  Who doesn't love a furry friend during the holidays?

Here is our first group shot with the inmates involved in the program, prison administration, myself, our trainer, Kathy Marggraff, and our SCG Secretary, Shae Nida.  It does, indeed, take a village!!

Stay tuned as we chronicle our journey and a journey it will be!

The Hunt Continues


What hunt, you ask?  Well, we continue to research vocational technical programs offered within the Georgia prison system in an effort to determine where our Greyhound prison foster and training program will fit best and better than that, which prison within the system.

In our research we visited with the women inmates at Metro Women's Transitional Center.  Here they provide preliminary service dog training for lab puppies who after their year there, go on to "college" at a facility in New York. They are then provided to families in need of a service dog - to the tune of $25,000 or more, each.  That fee is usually paid for by grants and donations. 

The other facility we visited was Arrendale State Prison.  This prison houses the State's only death row for women.  At the time we visited, it was for the launch of their Equine rescue program.  The women were rehabilitating and training horses that have been confiscated by the state Department of Agriculture, usually due to neglect.  After rehab, the horses are sold as pets.  It's a great program that not only provides a skill for the inmate but helps the horses recover and move on to a healthy, life with a family who loves them.  It's another win-win in my book!

Prisons are usually very welcoming to programs that engage the inmate, providing a skill set that can be utilized after prison life, and helps the community in general.  We are hopeful that our time is coming.

WOW, What a Rough Week . . .

Well, can I start off saying that this week has really tested our endurance and tolerance?  It has indeed. 

First, we've been treating a Greyhound since we repaired her broken heel back on Friday, July 13, 2012.  She acquired a terrible infection that we just couldn't contain.  The infection contained two differenct bacteria.  One is the eColi bacteria and the other the Enterococcus Faecalis bacteria.  The eColi bacteria was slowly responding to antibiotics whereas the Enterococcus Faecalis bacteria only responds to one antibiotic - ever and that's iffy, too.  It has to be administered intravenously every day for seven days and cannot be repeated because it is so dangerous to the kidneys.

Today she looses that leg entirely via amputation.  The infection continues to rage inside her foot on the bone to the extent that it has deteriorated the bone.  The foot is not functional and not repairable.  It looks like cottage cheese on the x-ray.  And, no, there are no signs of osteo. 

I tell you this was the toughest conclusion to have to deal with after all the time, effort, and money we've thrown at trying to eradicate the infection.  It's a very helpless feeling because there is absolutely nothing more we can do.  Pie has been a champ throughout the last six weeks and is the happiest girl I think I've ever seen.  She's a flower child in diguise! 

It will be a very tough day as we wait for word from the veterinarian hospital that she is awake and okay.  Very tough day indeed for us, but even more so for Pie.  She will come through it all with flying colors, I know, because she is just such a bright shining star herself.  It's a setback, yes, but we'll all get through it.

The other "event" to occur this week is that we have found out that one of our pups in the prison in Florida appears to be blind.  He had some issues at the track, which now do appear to be in line with blindness, which forced the trainer to retire him.  He was a Grade A racer 3 months ago but has been declining since, hence his retirement. 

He has an appointment next Thursday with an opthamologist and we hope to have a definitive diagnosis at that time.  In the meantime, he will be coming home from the prison program which is another disappointment.  We believe learning basic obedience skills will provide him with an awesome foundation he'll need for future learning as a non-sighted Greyhound.  But he will get the same type of learning in his foster home.  His foster Mom is an avid trainer of Greyhounds which will be wonderful for him.  He'll definitely be in the right place!

He'll need a special forever home - one with lots of love, patience, and other Greyhounds but I'm most certain we will find that special place for him to live out his retired days! 

Everyone, please keep these two dogs in your thoughts and prayers.  They've both been handed an awful draw of the cards but they will persevere and will be wonderful pets for two wonderful families one day soon!

Greyhounds Galore!

And it's graduation day!!  Another class comes home from the prison program and another class heads down.  It's a wonderful day for the new adopters to finally get to meet their Greyhounds.  Some have been waiting for 2 months so I know it's an especially exciting day for them!

This morning, in fact, I prepared an email to each of the seven new adopters providing some last minute details surrounding the haul, what to expect when they get their Greyhound home and so on. 

The last sentence that I wrote, "You will soon wonder how you got along WITHOUT a Greyhound in your life!" made me well up with tears!  For one, I cannot imagine my life without my Greyhounds in it.  They are so much a part of me and I of them.  I am planning a 10-day trip in September where I am most certain to experience withdrawals and hope their sitter will keep me apprised of their daily activities while I'm away or I will surely wither and die!!

As well, I derive much enjoyment and satisfaction in the small part that I do in providing families with their wonderful Greyhounds and love seeing them at Meet & Greets and events thereafter where you can visibly see how family members have embraced their new furry four-legged friends. 
It is just so heartwarming and such a wonderful thing for the Greyhound as well as the family. It is why we do what we do and we love what we do!!

Today's haul is the first in three years that I will miss as I'll be heading to Gatlinburg for Mountain Hounds.  I think that is why I am especially sentimental about the Greyhounds coming home today as I will certainly miss seeing them and meeting their new humans.  But alas, I will survive and the cycle will continue with or with me! 

The cycle which involves the newest class heading to the prison today which happens to include my next and newest Greyhound, Gwyneth Paltrow.  I am especially excited to finally be able to adopt Gwyneth and give her the added bonus of the prison training before she comes home in August.  I'm sure I'll be blogging about the experience "from this side" since this will be my first prison pup.  It's very exciting for her and for me!! 

Happy graduation to our pups today!!  Now, on to Mountain Hounds!!

WOW - I am the worst blogger!!

I just looked at our blog and am quite ashamed to see that it has been a year since I last blogged!!  What happened to me?  I can only say that it has been a very busy year and blogging just escaped the forefront of my mind all those months!! 

Seriously, it has been very busy.  We've adopted now about 125 Greyhounds and will be coming up on our third birthday in January of 2012.  Those numbers are pretty good, I think.   As with any adoption group, we always strive to adopt more and more Greyhounds which means more and more families are, no doubt, happier than they've ever been!  These dogs make such wonderful family pets, it's ridiculous.

Case in point - I had the pleasure of spending the morning with a family last Sunday at a Meet & Greet we hosted.  This family adopted their Greyhound from us a little over a month ago.  At the time of the adoption, the wife was very unsure of even having a dog as part of the family due to a previous bad experience with another (breed) dog.  Much to my delight, when I saw them on Sunday, she introduced him as their "third" child and "only son".  They have taken to him as he has to them!  It is just so incredibly heartwarming to see how these wonderful animals change our lives and how we change theirs.

Seeing and hearing stories such as this really makes it all worthwhile and reinforces to me why we do what we do. 

With that being said, we have ten Greyhounds who have arrived at the prison today to start their training and ten graduates who will arrive in Atlanta shortly, all who will be dispersed to their new families or foster homes this evening.  The cycle continues .  .  .

And finally, I promise to add "blog to SCG site" to my calendar as a bi-weekly task so I do not forget again!! 

Another Graduating Class

Next Thursday, October 14, we will have another class of Greyhounds graduate from the prison training program. I believe this is our sixth group to graduate and the second group of ten!! And I'm proud and happy to say that nine of the ten are adopted and have families waiting to meet them. Whoo hoo! I expect we may even have the tenth adopted by then as he is a handsome and sweet boy who will most certainly catch someone's eye soon! We also have a boy, Crenshaw Rayford nka Coby, who is very deserving of a home. He is not tolerant of cats or small dogs but is great with children and loves his people! I know his family will come along shortly!!

As in the past, when one class graduates, another goes into the program. Actually this usually occurs within an hour or so of each other. Those who graduate leave the prison and the next batch is usually waiting to enter the prison. It is planned this way so that the prisoners have little time to dwell on the one they have, most often, fallen in love with and can immediately focus on their next charge.

The first day is usually spent determining which inmate will get which Greyhound. They then name their new friend and spend the next week getting to know each other. The next eight weeks are dedicated to training the Greyhound to perform many different commands. Then the entire process repeats!!

It's quite busy when one class is coming out and one is going in as there is much to be done to prepare both groups for both scenarios. Adoptive families have been chosen and prepped, meeting places to pick up their Greyhound have been determined, vetting for the new group is in process and their travel bags (complete with everything they might need for the duration) are in process.

This time next week, two vehicles will head out to gather the ten coming home. One will meet another volunteer in Perry to pick up five and the other will drive to the prison to pick up the other five. A hauler will take the new group down from Birmingham that same morning, arriving just in time to see the current class exit. It's all very well orchestrated. Luckily for us there have been very few snafus along the way. It just takes ALOT of planning to make sure all goes well.

With all that is going on, our group will take a breather from all the "work" activities to enjoy an afternoon at Nancy G's Cafe located at 4920 Roswell Road in Atlanta this coming Sunday, October 10th from 1-3 p.m. with our Greyhounds in tow!! We'll be on the patio, yes, so if you are in the area, come out and join us. Bring your Greyhound! Everyone is welcome.

And lastly, I'll leave you with this quick recipe for some mini-muffins for your Greyhound. He or she will thank you profusely for taking a moment to make these. They will love them!!

Cheddar Bacon Mini-Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 strips bacon, crumbled
½ cup cheddar cheese
½ cup milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp bacon drippings

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg and stir in the milk and bacon drippings. Pour egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Spoon into mini-muffin tin and bake at 375° oven for about 10 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Makes 24 mini-muffins.

Another Month Has Flown By

Wow, it's now almost October and Fall is upon us. With Fall comes the many wonderful arts and crafts festivals that dot the Atlanta suburbs.  We try to do as many as we can but being such a small group, we are limited.  Last month we attended the Sandy Springs Festival in Sandy Springs and had a fabulous time. 

This month we'll be at Pace Academy on the 2nd for their annual Fall Fair and then the Smyrna Fall Jonquil Festival on the 23rd and 24th plus the Whole Hawg Happenin' BBQ festival on the 23rd as well.  In between the Meet & Greets, we have a fun and relaxing afternoon planned on the 10th at Nancy G's on Roswell Road as we enjoy another "Yappy Hour" with our Greyhound friends on their wonderful and spacious outside patio.  On the 16th we'll participate of our first Hound Hike at Kennesaw Mountain.  This should be great fun for the humans and the Greyhounds!!

October is definitely going to be a very busy month but the wonderful Fall weather just beckons us to participate in outdoor activities!  It's a beautiful time of the year in Atlanta and we try to enjoy every minute of it!

I've been busy myself participating in evaluations through TDI, Inc. (pet therapy) so that we can become certified through that organization.  I first took Lucy for her evaluation and I am proud to say that she passed the testing with flying colors.  Actually, she and I both passed.  It's definitely a team effort.  I will next take Sami and hope she remains her calm self long enough during the testing to satisfy the requirements.  She is still so young (3 years old) and so puppy-like but it seems she knows the environment in nursing homes is "calmer and quieter" than anywhere else so she usually adapts pretty well.  I'll work with her a bit more and then when we're ready, we will pursue her certification.  Being certified as a pet therapy dog will open doors for us as we will then be able to visit other facilities around Atlanta, ie children hospitals, hospices, and the like.  I'm urging others in the group to seek certification as well.  TDI, Inc. provides $5 million liability insurance for all of its members which is quite a perk.  That, alone, is worth the time and effort it takes to become certified.

On another note, I received an email from an old high school chum on Facebook.  This is what he wrote "Just wanted to say hello and tell you the things you do for animals is great !! If I was to die and come back I want to be one of your dogs."  I have to say that really warmed my heart. 

I responded back reciprocating as I've seen pictures of his Great Danes and how they are so very loved and cared for.  It is definitely such a compliment for anyone when they hear things like that.

But the biggest compliment of all was his next reply, "actually thanks to you we joined the Mid Atlantic Great Dane Rescue so thanks !!"  Honestly, that put tears in my eyes.  If what I do helping the Greyhounds inspires someone else to get involved, then so much the better.  I am just so proud of what we do to help the Greyhounds and hope that others might find a little bit of time in their life to help just one animal along the way.  As Martha would say, "its a good thing"!

Another Fun-Filled Month

We've survived another exciting month at Second Chance Greyhounds culminating with our two day stint at the Pigs 'n Peaches Festival in Kennesaw.  We attended this event last year and had a fabulous time meeting and greeting with the public and chatting up Greyhound adoption and our prison foster program with Second Chance Greyhounds.  We were very lucky in that the rain held off for the most part although it did sprinkle on everyone very early Saturday evening. Then it was beautiful the rest of the evening.  The food was fabulous and the volunteers were great!  It was a long two days but very much worth it!! Pictures from the event can be found here

We also recently added a new pet therapy location to our repertoire of nursing homes visited on a monthly basis by our volunteers.  This new one, Dogwood Forrest of Marietta, will be awesome to visit as the residents have their very own dog who lives at the facility with them.  They love him but are anxious to meet our Greyhounds.  And, of course, we are happy to oblige!

I recently saw a video on Facebook that a friend had posted on their wall.  It was about a paralyzed yellow lab who was wheeled in a wagon by his owner, going room to room to visit patients who were terminally ill.  I sat there and cried while watching the video.  On many occasions, petting, snuggling, and loving on that therapy dog was the last happy thing that the patient did before dying.  Very touching indeed, especially knowing the impact pet therapy work has on the patient.  And even the handler and the dog - I sometimes wonder if we're getting more out of the visits than the patients!  It's definitely a win-win for everyone and I'm so happy that our pet therapy program is growing.  We now visit three locations in and around Atlanta and one in Valdosta! 

The month of September brings our usual schedule of pet therapy visits, the Meet & Greet at the Valdosta Petsmart, our monthly meeting, the much anticipated microchipping clinic and then the last weekend of the month, we'll be at the Sandy Springs Festival.  It's a two-day event and is fantastic, I have to say, with lots of arts and crafts and (drum roll, please) . . . it's a pet friendly festival!!  Dogs of all breeds and sizes will be in attendance and there is even a pet parade that Saturday.  Alot of fun indeed - I hope you'll plan to come out and join us.  We'd love to meet you!  Rest assured, you'll have fun meeting our Greyhounds.  They are the best!!


Oh my - I just realized it's been many, many, months since I posted here on our blog!!  I have no excuse except I've been really busy adopting Greyhounds and helping Second Chance Greyhounds prosper and grow.  We are over a year and a half old and continue to grow by leaps and bounds, although we are still a small group which makes it really nice!!

Let's see if I can accurately recap events and happenings over the last few months!  In April, a few of us participated in the Georgia Renaissance Festival in Fairburn, Georgia where we dressed the part as the caretakers of the King's "hunting hounds".  Yes, our Greyhounds were present, too.  We had so much fun talking to the villagers about Greyhound adoption and of course, we were such a hit with the King and Queen and their court.  We definitely plan to participate again in the Spring.  This fall we will participate in the Carolina Renaissance Festival, however, the dates we will be there are not known at this time.  To see some pictures of our experience at the GARenFest, please visit our online photo gallery.

The end of April we attended the Atlanta Steeplechase where we had a very large tent complete with a very lavish table display of wonderful appetizers to compliment the delightful day, despite the wet conditions.  We look forward to attending again next Spring and pray for clear, warm weather!!  Click here to see some pictures from this event.  We had an awesome time!

The day after we attended the Taste of Marietta where we chatted up Greyhound adoption and Second Chance Greyhounds with crowds of people.  We had a fabulous time at this event and look forward to our participation next year.  Wow, I've never seen so many people crowded into such an area before!  Really worth the effort though!  Here are pictures!

In May we had another group of Greyhounds graduate from the prison foster program.  Most were adopted before ever leaving the prison which is really nice because they went directly into their forever homes.  We do have one lone boy left from that class, Crenshaw Rayford, who is a gorgeous red fawn who isn't cat tolerant or small dog tolerant but is a wonderful, playful Greyhound who wants his own family to love!!  He is currently in foster care and is doing extremely well.  He will be at future Meet & Greets so if you are interested in meeting him, please visit our Events page to see where we will be next!!

We also participated in the Taste of Douglasville in May, this marking our second appearance here!  Several regulars recognized us and made a point to stop by which was way cool!  This year was definitely different than last year because last year the festival had to be cancelled early in the day because of heavy rain.  It was truly like a monsoon!!  Here are some pictures from this year's event.  We had such a great time.  This is fast becoming a "must attend" festival for area residents!

June was relatively quite, except for a few M&Gs at pet boutiques around Atlanta - Hot Dogs & Cool Cats (pictures here) and another new store, The Good Dog Company (pictures here).  Both of these stores are awesome!  The Good Dog Company specializes in wholistic food, treats, and even toys and is fast becoming a favorite in the Kennesaw area.  Hot Dogs & Cool Cats has made it's name in the grooming department, I think, and has a wonderful selection of food, treats, toys and goodies for the smaller pups!

July 4th we were at the Peachtree Road Race cheering on the human racers.  What fun it is to be there to see 50,000+ runners heading south on Peachtree Road.  It is quite a sight!  Even though our crowd wasn't large, the few of us who braved the early wake up call to be there really did have a great time.  I hope more folks will come out next year!  It's truly worth it!  Pictures are here!

The remainder of July was spent promoting Second Chance Greyhounds in other ways, such as our new 2011 PlayGrey Calendar featuring our Greyhounds "pin up" style.  You will love this calendar and I urge you to purchase yours today as quantities are limited.  Once sold out, that's it until 2012!!

We were also busy preparing to ship off ten retired Greyhounds to the prison to start their training.  They actually left this morning and should arrive at the prison any minute.  We are excited to be able to send ten down this time and what a great bunch of dogs we have!!  You can follow their progress by checking out their blogs in the next few weeks.  They will graduate October 7th but won't come home to Atlanta until October 14th due to scheduling conflicts.  How exciting!! 

August 20-21 we will participate in the Pigs & Peaches Festival being held at Adams Park and the Ben Robertson Community Center in Kennesaw.  This another great festival - we hope to see you there!  I'm not sure of our booth location at this time but you won't be able to miss us.  We'll have Greyhounds there and a crowd around our booth, I'm sure!

I should mention every Greyhound adopted from Second Chance Greyhounds from August on, will be microchipped and automatically registered with the HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service.  This is so exciting and we are happy to now be able to offer this extra little "perk" to our future adopters.  For those who have adopted from us in the past (and other Greyhound owners as well), we will be holding a microchipping clinic Saturday, September 11th, from 1-3 p.m. at Hiram Animal Hospital.  More details will be announced soon or feel free to check our Events page in September for details.

Whew - you see, we have been really busy!!  I plan to blog regularly from this point forward . . . I promise!  Until then, have a wonderful day!

Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival

This past weekend we were at the Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival promoting the Greyhounds of SCG.  We had a fabulous weekend chatting with prospective adopters.  I think about 1,000 people stopped at our booth to talk about and pet the Greyhounds. 

It's funny - the majority of the folks I spoke with had dogs at home already.  Okay, that isn't the funny thing, but the fact that 98% of them were Chihuahua's, now that IS funny and very interesting, as well!  Another observation  . . . . I probably saw about 20 children on leashes.  You know the kind that look like a harness but there is a leash on the back for the parent.  I haven't seen a leash on a child in years and I go to many a festival for Second Chance Greyhounds.  Again, just an interesting observation. 

And the last most interesting thing was a comment a man made or rather it was a question he posed.  He asked me, "After the Greyhounds are done racing, what good are they?"  Obviously, I was so stunned that words escaped me.  I'm not certain how I responded but those of us who know Greyhounds, know that they are wonderful dogs and wonderful pets with great personalities.  And as we continue to host various Meet & Greets throughout the year, we will continue to educate the public on the merits of owning a former racing Greyhound.  His question really just reiterated to me that our work is far from being over! 

On a more happier and funnier note, one child wanted to give his Mom's dog away so they could adopt a Greyhound.  Now, that is a sacrifice, isn't it?  :)  The Mom wasn't too thrilled at his suggestion but it certainly was great fodder for a laugh or two!

I’d like to thank Kim Morris with Cody, Michelle and Jason Kroh with Maggie and Daisy, Kathy Marggraff and Dave Kundak with Zeus, and Judy and Bob Monti with Crenshaw and my Sami and Foster Miley for coming out on Saturday to help support the cause!

A big thanks also go to Phil Woodward with Foster Johnny, Norman McKenzie with Foster Chris, and Laura Lovell and Scott Keith with Venus and my Sami and Foster Miley for braving the potentially bad weather to come out on Sunday.  It was terribly windy but didn’t start sprinkling until we were packed up.  We were VERY lucky!!  Thanks to each of you for helping break down as well. I really appreciate it!

All in all it was a wonderful, fun-filled, busy weekend.  I expect we will receive an application or two as a result of our efforts.  How exciting for the potential adopters and equally so for Second Chance Greyhounds!

Be sure to keep an eye on our Events page for where we will be next and plan to join us!!

Another Road Trip or Two

The Sunday before last, Kathy Marggraff, Dave Kundak and myself drove over to Birmingham to deliver some carpet for Alan to use in the kennels.  He lines the bottom of the kennels with rectangle shaped carpet, providing a soft surface for the dogs to lay on. 

On our way over we stopped at Cracker Barrel to have lunch.  Wow, this one seemed to be bursting at the seams with folks enjoying a nice lunch after Church services.  And, of course, they were dressed in their Sunday finest!  And then there we were, in blue jeans and sweat shirts!  Lucky for us, no one seemed to notice as they were all way to busy eating lunch and socializing with their neighbors!

As we were standing at the counter waiting to pay, Kathy noticed this "artifact" on the wall behind the cashiers.  I almost died!  Of course I snapped a picture with my iPhone and have been scouring the Internet ever since.  I'll find one and when I do, I'll definitely snatch it up.  Don't know where I'll put it but I will definitely find somewhere for it.  Have you ever seen a wagon like this before?  Apparently they were really popular in the 1950's.

After our leisure lunch, we headed on to the track to deliver the carpet and photograph the new Greyhounds headed down to the prison in Florida on Thursday.  What a great bunch of dogs!  The girls will have a blast training these guys, I know it.  
Kathy was checking out this cute brindle girl with the bob tail, even getting her out of her kennel for a visit outside with Alan and Dave.  As soon as they walked out, she jumped into the open door of a hauler.  Poor thing thought it was time to go run!  It was hilarious as the hauler she jumped into was not in use and was full of debris.  She didn't seem to mind, in fact, we had a hard time getting her to come out! 

We then headed to the Adoption Kennel to check out the brindle puppies.  Aren't they adorable?  One day I'll bite the bullet and will adopt a Greyhound puppy.  I just have to get my nerve up first as I hear they are a terror to raise!!  It would be worth it though.

When I arrived home that evening I went through the pictures and determined they were not useable mainly due to the brightness.  The afternoon sun was high in the sky and any setting I tried didn't seem to alleviate it in the pictures. 

So, Michelle Kroh and I headed over AGAIN this past Sunday to retake the pictures.  It was an overcast day which really was perfect lighting for the pictures.  When we arrived, we got right to it and photographed everyone in record time having a blast the entire time!  The dogs love getting out and about and honestly are very good about standing to get their picture taken.  

Check out their pictures.

Alan mentioned that Lost Cufflink was available as he had a torn muscle from his race on Saturday.  Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to get him in the program.  He is a striking white dog with blue ticking with one eye that has eyeliner!  The other doesn't! What a hoot he is, truly, a Greyhound with so much personality that he'll do well in the program and in his forever home.  So, we grabbed him and took his pictures.

We were done!  After a quick trip to see the puppies at the Adoption Kennel, we then headed on home.  Whoops, I can't forget to mention I also took a picture of Toto.  Now, isn't that a face only a mother could love?  Toto was rescued from the local animal shelter to live at the adoption kennel and be the official small dog tester.  Wait, he isn't testing, he is the "testee", if you will.  He does a fantastic job and doesn't put up with any BS from anyone.  Honestly, look at him . . . who would mess with him?


Musical Greyhounds

As we celebrate our one year birthday this week, things couldn't be busier.  We've had five adoptions, thus far, in January and may have 1-2 more before the month is over.  While adoptions and moving dogs are part of our daily life, this week has proven to be quite challenging.

We were asked to take a prison pup for another group who basically had no where to go as she hadn't been adopted yet.  Heather had offered to bring her up with her Thursday evening, however, this evening was already overbooked for me since I have an adoption scheduled (for Tessa) plus I have a vet appointment with one of my own to get stitches taken out of her toe.  It just so happens that one of our volunteers was in Tallahassee for business.  Since he was so close to the prison, it made sense for him to bring Miley back with him as he was returning to Atlanta on Wednesday. 

His fiancee, Kathy, also offered to take care of Tessa's adoption I had planned for Thursday evening.  So to make this work, Dave was to pick up Miley and drive her to my home and then switch Miley for Tessa who will be getting adopted not Thursday evening now but Friday evening due to a schedule conflict with the adopter.  We are an hour away from "the switch" and all is on schedule, as planned.  Whoo hoo!!  Once crises averted!

As well, Heather emailed yesterday to say she has an opening in the prison program for one more Greyhound.  It just so happens that one of our Valdosta volunteers, Nona, will be with us on Saturday as we tour the Birmingham Race Course.  We had already planned for Nona to take a Greyhound back with her to foster and adopt in the Valdosta area. 

You see, the Valdosta/Tifton area is on the way to the prison for Heather so my mind ticked away with the idea that perhaps Nona could take two Greyhounds back with her and Heather could pick up the prison pup on her way down next week.  So, one email later to Nona, and that plan is now in motion.  Nona and her sister, Neva, will take them both back with them when they leave the track on Saturday.  Kane's Taylor will be Nona's foster while Kane's Roz will travel.  

The two new pups, Kane's Taylor and Kane's Roz, are scheduled for their spay surgeries, teeth cleaning, heartworm test, etc. this week, thanks to the fast actions of Melony Cleveland at the McGregor Greyhound Welfare Center, there at Birmingham Race Course.  She is always super happy to help get the Greyhounds vetted so they can be moved to adoption groups.  So they will be ready to roll on Saturday!  Whoo hoo, another crisis averted!

I just received a call from Dave and "the switch" has been completed and he is on his way to his final destination - HOME - in Elijay with Tessa!

And if all this weren't enough to make me start biting my nails, there is a potential adopter looking at Miley (the new prison pup who just arrived) Saturday after the field trip to the track and then I have a home visit scheduled on Sunday for Lola's potential adopter.  They will also meet Lola.  Keep your fingers crossed for both girls!!

So, this week has been full of many surprises and alot of planning and then more planning.  It's truly been like "musical Greyhounds" but I think Heather expressed it better than that . . . she said, "it's like putting bullfrogs in a wheelbarrow"!  My sentiments exactly!  But you know what?  That's what we're here for and that's what we do - we move dogs from here to there, hopefully, with the intent that their forever home is right around the corner!

A BIG thanks to Dave Kundak, Kathy Marggraff, Nona Robles, and Neva Collins, for helping make this happen!  You guys are the best!

Happy First Birthday Second Chance Greyhounds!!

On January 26, 2010, Second Chance Greyhounds will officially be one year old!  Last evening at our monthly meeting we celebrated with some awesome birthday cake!

It feels like it was just yesterday, when in fact it was a little over a year ago when Heather and I began chatting about the prospects of starting a new Greyhound adoption group and including a prison foster program.  

From there, we began laying the foundation for Second Chance Greyhounds.  The business stuff ie filing our corporate name, filing for our EIN number and all those other filings one must do to be a legit corporation, plus developing the By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation, and numerous other documents required for various filings.  Oh and I can't forget the tedious task of filing for our 501c3 status with the IRS.  The final paperwork for that was submitted the end of February and our approval arrived the end of March.  We were thrilled, to say the least, that we were approved so quickly.  This opened up lots of doors for grants and fundraising opportunities!  

We did our research so we could be educated and informed about prison foster programs.  We watched a DVD of a program in Michigan that will make the most stoic person bawl like a baby!! 

It's very touching to see the impact fostering and training a Greyhound has on hard core criminals in our prison system.  It was obvious the men were quite honored to be in the program and understand it is quite a privilege.  They know that doing anything to jeopardize their involvement in the program will more than likely result in their dismissal from the program and their return to the general inmate population with NO special privileges. 

They dote on their dog and protect their dog.  They spend countless hours with their dog, training and providing companionship.  And in return, they get all the unconditional love a dog can muster.  They are not alone - they have a friend who doesn't know or care about their past.  Add to that the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of the 9-week program when their fully trained dog graduates and is then released to the adoption group to be placed into their forever home.

From the beginning, we worked night and day, it seemed, to get the program off the ground.  Our efforts finally paid off when our first group of five Greyhounds left Southern New England Kennel at Birmingham Race Course, to head to Gadsden Correctional Facility in Quincy, Florida to be included in the first Greyhound prison foster program at that facility.  It was so exciting seeing that first group grow and mature during the 9-week program through our weekly updates - then picking them up afterwards, sending them off to their forever families, and finally watching them flourish, henceforth.  That's what it's all about folks!  That's why we do what we do! 

We had a total of 45 adoptions for 2009 which isn't too shabby for a brand new kid on the block.  We are proud of our efforts and, of course, hope those numbers climb in 2010.  The more we can send through the program then place into their forever homes means more and more Greyhounds after them can enjoy their retired life!  It seems like a never-ending cycle but there are so many rewards for our efforts!

If ever I doubt my involvement with this group (and this is rare), I take out that DVD and listen, again, to the prisoners talk so proudly about the Greyhounds in their care, those currently in training and even those from years past.  It is very touching and is a testament to the successfulness of prison foster programs. 

I am proud to be associated with Second Chance Greyhounds and hope that every other volunteer within the group feels the same way.  We have much to be proud of and much to be thankful for.  We achieved quite a bit during the first year and I expect we will continue to thrive in the years to come.  We have a great bunch of folks involved with Second Chance Greyhounds and a common goal - place Greyhounds into loving forever homes!!

I'd like to thank Heather, Kim and Guy, Amy and Robert, Brad, Scott, Tricia, Clif, Debbie and Dale, Michelle K., Julie, Kathy and Dave, Helen, Tina and Gary, Kim and Lyle, Nona, Melissa, Donna, Amy H., Norman and Sonjii, Linda M., Linda S., Michelle M., Pat, Margie, Terri, Wendy, Jackie, Jan, and ALL the volunteers who have helped in some way to make Second Chance Greyhounds what it is today!  And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn't thank Alan and Linda Olson of Southern New England Kennels who train and take care of our Greyhounds before they retire from racing.  They continually provide us with the most awesome Greyhounds and for that we are grateful.  Also thanks to Melony Cleveland of the McGregor Greyhound Welfare Center at the Birmingham Race Course for her help and assistance in ensuring our Greyhounds are properly immunized and vetted prior to their departure from the track.  

We could not be where we are today without your involvement and support.  Indeed, it does take a village!!

The Pickup

Thursday evening I had the pleasure of bringing Tessa, Duchess, Cha Chi, and Holly back from Perry.  Nona and Melissa had picked them up at the prison in Quincy, Florida that morning and drove them to Perry to meet me at Priester's for the hand off (thanks again guys!).  What a great bunch of dogs!  They sleep the entire way back and not a peep was heard from anyone!  Just perfect behavior!

I have to say this is my first time fostering one of the pups from the prison foster program and boy am I really impressed.  I have Tessa who is smart as a whip.  And cute, to boot!!  We already have an applicant interested in adopting her so I don't imagine I'll have her for too long.

Hearing about how wonderfully trained the prison pups are is a different beast than seeing it first hand, I have to say and I am thoroughly enjoying Tessa and running her through the gammit of verbal commands that she knows. 

Makes me wish I could send my four there for training!! But alas, that is not possible.  I have to live vicariously through the prison pups and dream that mine are that well trained!!  Actually it gives me great incentive to work on training mine a bit more.  They do know "sit" and "down" but that is about it. 

The command that I most appreciate that the prison pups know is "stay".  The "stay" command  is always a command and behavior that is beneficial for any dog to know, especially Greyhounds. This is something I've tried to teach my own, but it's not quite sunk in with them yet mainly because they think they must always be by my side!   They also learn "drop", "kennel up", "hurry", "come", and a host of other commands.  All are fantastic for them to know!!  And its way fun for the handler, too!

I do believe my dogs are jealous when they see the things that Tessa can do.  Perhaps it will rub off on them before she goes to her forever home!!  I can dream, can't I?

Last Trip to Birmingham Race Course for 2009

Last weekend Michelle and I drove to Birmingham Race Course to take photos of our next group of hounds headed to the prison in Florida to be fostered and trained.  They'll depart on January 14, 2010 and will return on March 18, 2010.  Needless to say, we have a fantastic group headed that way.  Their pictures should be online in the next day or two so if you're interested, check them out at Available Greyhounds.  They are all wonderful Greyhounds, however, one stands out a bit from the rest and that is Delila.  She is a beautiful dog with a very light fawn coat, almost a blue fawn and is a sweetheart.  She will do well at Gadsden Correctional Facility and will learn lots of tricks for her new family.

So, while we were there we visited their Adoption kennel to cat and small dog test our five Greyhounds.  While at the kennel, look what was there - the most adorable Greyhound puppy.  He is 18 weeks old and is ALL puppy.  I had taken a picture of him outside his crate, however, he never stops moving so it was pretty blurry.  I should have adjusted my camera and put it on "sports" mode, just for him! :)

He was adopted to a family that day and as we saw him load up in their van for the trek home, I stood there watching marveling at his cuteness and abounding energy.  I have always said that one day I will adopt a Greyhound puppy and will raise it for lure coursing. 

I still plan to do that but in the interim, I'm committed to helping train and adopt as many Greyhounds from Southern New England Kennels at Birmingham Race Course as our group can possibly handle.  That is our goal for 2010!

Happy New Year everyone - may 2010 bring you much joy and happiness, good health and the best of everything you deserve.  Here's to a fantastic 2010!!

New Squarespace iPhone App

Our host provider for our website is Squarespace. We especially love the ease of use and cutting edge technology. And if I say so myself, our site is very up to date, informative and user friendly.

In an effort to keep their customers up to date with current technology, their developers have been working hard to develop an iPhone app which customers can use to manage and update their sites.

Of course when I heard the app was ready, I immediately downloaded it. "Sweet" is what I call it. Pretty cool.

I'm using it to post to our blog at this very moment while I wait at the dentist office. Can't beat that!

So be looking for live posts from meet and greets, meetings, hauls - actually anywhere Second Chance Greyhounds might be.

I love it - thanks Squarespace!

Introducing Ms. Belle

Named aptly so as she is quite a Southern belle!  Who do I speak of?  Well, see for yourself!

This picture was taken after I picked her up yesterday.  Obviously she was exhausted from her travels and is resting comfortably, even as we speak.

Our plan is to give her a collar and possibly a straw hat to compliment her Southern charm.  Then we will raffle tickets in hopes of raising many dollars for Second Chance Greyhounds.  She will then find her forever home and will live happily ever after.

I'd like to thank Kathy Fowler for the many hours she spent crocheting Ms. Belle.  It truly was a labor of love, I imagine, and we are forever grateful.  Second Chance Greyhounds thanks you and the Greyhounds thank you!! 

I'll be sure to post an updated picture of Belle when she is fully attired!

Our First Graduating Class

I have been so busy with so many things lately that I've been remiss in mentioning that our first graduating class from the prison foster program came home August 27th.  This group included TW Sunny, TW Slider, Kings Felix, and Raider Allder.  Raider Redbud started the program back in June with this group but was released early due to a fractured ankle.  He was subsequently adopted and is living the good life with four Greyhound sisters.  The others completed the program with Slider and Allder coming in at the top of their class. 

It's really fun to see the tricks they learned and see how well behaved they are in public.  Let's see, Sunny, Allder and Redbud were adopted which leaves Slider and Felix now in foster care looking for their forever homes.  Slider is a beautiful red fawn female with beautiful fur.  The ends are black, giving her a most unusual coat!  Felix is a beautiful big brindle boy who is sweet as sweet can be. 

Both will be at the Marietta Farmer's Market Meet & Greets throughout September and various other Meet & Greets and events while searching for their forever family.  See our events page to see where we'll be and when and definitely make a point to come out and meet the dogs!

Oh, and as our first class was coming home, our second class was on its way down to Quincy to the prison.  That class includes AHK Plastique, Crenshaw Tuff, Relish Jar, Windy Wendy, and Lonely Lover. They have been there 2 1/2 weeks now so we should soon begin getting weekly reports to update their blogs.  Check their blogs often so you can watch their progress!